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The provision of health information in a video format can benefit a wide range of people who find it hard to use standard printed material. For example, those who are blind or visually impaired, people with a learning difficulty, and those who do not have English as their first language.

People absorb information in different ways and some may simply find that video is easier to understand than written material. Video can also be subtitled or voiced over to increase its accessibility for a wider range of audiences.

Video can be a useful format for:

  • demonstrating a skill, such as physiotherapy exercises
  • showing an environment or procedure such as a hospital ward or surgery
  • sharing personal experiences and stories
  • showing a patient journey
  • communicating with children or young people
  • showing animation or cartoons.

It is important to consider the purpose of your information resource, and your audiences, when thinking about a video as the content will differ.

So, for instance, take hip and knee replacement surgery. You could have a patient information video about how to prepare for surgery, about the actual operation, and post operative procedures to promote a better outcome.

You may also want to publicise the successful outcomes of this type of surgery at your trust by making a video for stakeholders such as local GPs and commissioning consortia.

The content for these videos could be filmed at the same time, but the editing will be completely different as the videos will be tailored to two different audiences.

Videos can ensure that everyone receives consistent, good quality information and may help to ensure that safety information, such as medicines or deep vein thrombosis (DVT) prevention information always gets passed on and isn’t forgotten.

They are ideal where people have to absorb complex information, for example pre and post operative instructions and exercises.

Video can also be used to promote new health services to patients and service users. An entrance foyer or waiting room is an ideal place to play a short video – you have a captive audience! You can use this space to play health promotion films or a video about services, for example.

The length of an online video should be no longer than three minutes, due to differing broad band speeds and attention spans. If it is longer than three minutes then people may not watch to the end. For example, it is better to have five short videos of two minutes each, rather than one long 10 minute video.

Videos be embedded into your own website. Links can be posted onto social networking site such as Twitter, Facebook or YouTube.

YouTube allows anyone to upload videos onto their own YouTube account.  This is easy to do and free. A YouTube video can be viewed in various ways such as sharing a link via email, Facebook, Twitter or other social networking sites.

Click here to find out about tagging your videos, and how to ensure your viewers can find your video online at YouTube.

Key Points

  1. Thumbs-upStart simple. Pick a service or topic where you think there are some easy wins to be had, such as areas where you get lots of questions or calls, or where people struggle to remember what they have been advised.
  2. Be clear on the type of videos you need. Think about the purpose of your project and talk to your target audience about their needs and preferences.
  3. Involve your target audience in testing your videos to ensure they are understandable and accessible.
  4. There is no point in making a video then uploading it onto your website or YouTube if nobody watches it. Tags on your video are key words that enable people searching online for information to find your video. If your video is properly tagged then anyone interested in that topic should be able to find your video easily by entering key words on a search engine such as Google. There are three elements to tag your video: Title, Description and Keywords.
  5. Sharing videos on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter can help you to attract a different audience
  6. You can make your own customised YouTube channel for viewers to subscribe to, which means you can collect names and email addresses of people who are interested in your services.
  7. Add subtitles and translations where you can, to ensure accessibility.

Create your own videos

Health and Care Videos have produced a series of short videos for PIF, to help you create your own health and care videos:

Top tips to get you started

Advantages of using short videos

Loading videos on your website

Making video part of the care process

6 great places to load your videos

Acknowledgements: Ellen Jenkins, Health and Care Videos ; Hilary Belshaw, Hen House Productions 

 Page last updated: 11 February 2016